Nguyen-era bridge "found" in Vietnam

10 July 2007 (Thanh Nien News) – There’s something wrong with this story. Can archaeologists “find” a bridge when it has been still in use for the last 250 years? I mean, if I stumble across a Dong Son drum underneath a metre of dirt, I could say I “found” it. But here, this bridge has been in constant use to modern times, so why should anyone lay claim to “finding” it? I should go downstairs now to “find” a car.

Bridge, over 250 years old, found in Vietnam

Vietnamese archaeologists have discovered a stone bridge dating back from the time of King Le Canh Hung (1740-1786) in the northern Cao Bang province.

The experts from the Vietnam Institute of Archaeology and provincial museum found the 260-year-old bridge in Hung Quoc town in good condition and still being used by people.

The museum director, Phung Chi Kien, said the bridge was vaulted, 4.75m long, and 2.46m wide.

It had been built using large stones, the biggest of which was 1.73m long, 0.34m wide and 0.24m high, he said.

Near the bridge is a stele placed in 1831 by the Nguyen dynasty’s Emperor Minh Mang. It says: The bridge was built during King Le Canh Hung’s reign 1749 and repaired during Emperor Minh Mang’s reign in 1831.

It will be preserved by the province’s culture and information agency.


Books about the Vietnamese kingdoms and dynasties:
Vietnam: An Illustrated History (Illustrated Histories) by L. S. Woods
Nguyen Cochinchina: Southern Vietnam in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Studies on Southeast Asia) by T. Li

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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